JPM International Equity boasts a strong investment team and a well-codified investment approach.
This strategy is in the capable hands of Tom Murray. He became a comanager in 2004 and has been lead manager since September 2017. Murray is joined by comanagers Shane Duffy, James Sutton, and Zenah Shuhaiber, all of whom have been with J.P. Morgan for their entire investment careers. This is the same team that runs the ADR-only sibling offering JPM International ADR, while Murray and Duffy together co-lead the more concentrated, best ideas offering JPMorgan International Focus. Backing the London-based managers are a stable cast of eight global specialists who scour the best ideas from the firm’s huge regional research teams that cover approximately 2,500 stocks in offices all over the world.
Alongside a solid team is a robust approach. The team focuses on non-U.S. firms that score well on balance sheet strength, profitability, and management quality. The global specialists rank stocks from A to C, with A representing their highest-conviction bets, a framework that helps form position-sizing decisions in the end 70- to 100-stock portfolio. While management is willing to pay up for some growth-oriented opportunities, valuation is also an important consideration. As a result, the portfolio is well-balanced from a style perspective, hence why it has landed in the core portion of the Morningstar Style Box.
The strategy has posted respectable returns under Murray’s leadership. Since Murray took the lead in September 2017, through June 2023, the mutual fund’s institutional shares gained 4.2% annualized, beating the MSCI ACWI ex USA Index's 3.2% return and 68% of its foreign large-blend Morningstar Category peers. Given he’s been a comanager here since 2004, longer-term results remain relevant, too. In the trailing 15 years through June 2023, the fund’s 3.6% annualized return beat the index’s 2.9% gain and 64% of peers. Volatility (as measured by standard deviation of returns) was in line with the index, so risk-adjusted returns tell a similar story.